Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Leveraging the Assets of Oregon's Middlefield Golf Course

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Leveraging the Assets of Oregon's Middlefield Golf Course

Article excerpt

Middlefield Golf Course, a 5,200-yard, 18-hole executive course, has been owned by the city of Cottage Grove, Oregon, since 2006. In that time, we've made a few changes that have leveraged its assets and turned it into a major community resource. Middlefield is often referred to by patrons and passersby as a "fun little course" or a beautiful setting to introduce visitors to the small town of Cottage Grove. It is literally a welcome mat, as Interstate 5 runs right through the middle of the golf course, making it the first sight for visitors and travelers.

Water Conservation

The city of Cottage Grove's purchase of Middlefield was more than just a land-sale agreement of a recreational hot spot for local golf enthusiasts. The idea was to purchase the golf course to solve one of the city's pending wastewater woes and bring the city into compliance with government wastewater regulations. Prior to purchasing Middlefield, the city was discharging its effluent water into a temperature-limited stream (Coast Fork of the Willamette). However, with future tightening of government regulations, this was not going to continue to be an option. One solution was to build a cooling tower to cool the effluent water during the summer months, but with projected costs in excess of $1 million, the city began to think about alternative solutions.

In 2006, I had been to the Golf Industry Show in Orlando where I saw first-hand how some golf courses there were using effluent water for irrigation. City Manager, Richard Meyers, asked me about the feasibility of purchasing Middlefield and irrigating it with the reclaimed water. Doing so was estimated to be less costly than building a cooling tower, and it would be a city asset.

Since the golf course and wastewater treatment plant are in close proximity to each other, this kept the costs down on infrastructure improvements. The physical work of trenching and installing pipe and valves in the ground was the easiest part of the process. The most difficult and time consuming part was attaining the permit. The system was functionally ready in 2008, but not cleared by the U.S. Department off Environmental Quality for lawful operation until 2010.

It is not a perfect system, but none, particularly retrofitted ones, are. However, in addition to the million dollar cost savings, we have the following tangible results:

* Approximately 50 million gallons of fresh water are conserved every irrigation season. …

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